Dune by Frank Herbert

Book: Dune by Frank Herbert Read Free Book Online
Authors: Frank Herbert
drive to manage.
    Jessica felt the cold sheath of the crysknife beneath her bodice, thought of the long chain of Bene Gesserit scheming that had forged another link here. Because of that scheming, she had survived a deadly crisis. “It cannot be hurried,” Mapes had said. Yet there was a tempo of headlong rushing to this place that filled Jessica with foreboding. And not all the preparations of the Missionaria Protectiva nor Hawat’s suspicious inspection of this castellated pile of rocks could dispel the feeling.
    â€œWhen you’ve finished hanging those, start unpacking the boxes,” Jessica said. “One of the cargo men at the entry has all the keys and knows where things should go. Get the keys and the list from him. If there are any questions I’ll be in the south wing.”
    â€œAs you will, my Lady,” Mapes said.
    Jessica turned away, thinking: Hawat may have passed this residency as safe, but there’s something wrong about the place. I can feel it.
    An urgent need to see her son gripped Jessica. She began walking toward the arched doorway that led into the passage to the dining hall and the family wings. Faster and faster she walked until she was almost running.
    Behind her, Mapes paused in clearing the wrappings from the bull’s head, looked at the retreating back. “She’s the One all right,” she muttered. “Poor thing.”

“Yueh! Yueh! Yueh!” goes the refrain. “A million deaths were not enough for Yueh!”
    â€”from “A Child’s History of Muad’Dib” by the Princess Irulan
    THE DOOR stood ajar, and Jessica stepped through it into a room with yellow walls. To her left stretched a low settee of black hide and two empty bookcases, a hanging waterflask with dust on its bulging sides. To her right, bracketing another door, stood more empty bookcases, a desk from Caladan and three chairs. At the windows directly ahead of her stood Dr. Yueh, his back to her, his attention fixed upon the outside world.
    Jessica took another silent step into the room.
    She saw that Yueh’s coat was wrinkled, a white smudge near the left elbow as though he had leaned against chalk. He looked, from behind, like a fleshless stick figure in overlarge black clothing, a caricature poised for stringy movement at the direction of a puppet master. Only the squarish block of head with long ebony hair caught in its silver Suk School ring at the shoulder seemed alive—turning slightly to follow some movement outside.
    Again, she glanced around the room, seeing no sign of her son, but the closed door on her right, she knew, let into a small bedroom for which Paul had expressed a liking.
    â€œGood afternoon, Dr. Yueh,” she said. “Where’s Paul?”
    He nodded as though to something out the window, spoke in an absent manner without turning: “Your son grew tired, Jessica. I sent him into the next room to rest.”
    Abruptly, he stiffened, whirled with mustache flopping over his purpled lips. “Forgive me, my Lady! My thoughts were far away . . . I . . . did not mean to be familiar.”
    She smiled, held out her right hand. For a moment, she was afraid he might kneel. “Wellington, please.”
    â€œTo use your name like that . . . I. . . .”
    â€œWe’ve known each other six years,” she said. “It’s long past time formalities should’ve been dropped between us—in private.”
    Yueh ventured a thin smile, thinking: I believe it has worked. Now, she’ll think anything unusual in my manner is due to embarrassment. She’ll not look for deeper reasons when she believes she already knows the answer.
    â€œI’m afraid I was woolgathering,” he said. “Whenever I . . . feel especially sorry for you, I’m afraid I think of you as . . . well, Jessica.”
    â€œSorry for me? Whatever for?”
    Yueh shrugged. Long ago, he had realized Jessica was not gifted

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